Jason Mercier is a guy who understands impressive poker tournament runs.
From 2008-2011 Mercier was arguably the hottest and most successful poker tournament pro on the planet.
Including his breakthrough win at EPT San Remo in April 2008 he went on a tear that included two EPT final tables, two WSOP bracelets, two NAPT titles, numerous High Roller wins and cashes and roughly $8m in tournament earnings.
His stretch of impressive performances was so good and lasted so long, the hashtag #whenwillitend was born.
An extended downswing in 2012 aside one could in fact argue Mercier's tear is far from over as he's locked up two more seven-figure scores in the last two years and another $4m in earnings.
Greatest Run in Poker History
Still, Mercier says, what Dan Colman has done in the last nine months - namely win six major events and over $22m - might be the greatest stretch in poker tournament history.
From 2008-2011, no one hotter.
In London tossing chips around for the EPT Main Event, Mercier chatted with PokerListings Germany's Dirk Oetzmann about Colman's legacy, the drag of international travel and more.
PokerListings: Hi Jason, why are you here in London and not in Australia to fight for WSOP bracelets.
Jason Mercier: This is a PokerStars event and also I just didn’t want go to Australia. It takes about 26 hours travel from Miami to there, so it's a pretty exhausting trip to make.
PL: Nevertheless you had results this year in Africa, Australia, the US and Europe. It looks like you're on a constant run and enjoy it anyway?
JM: I am on a constant run, but that doesn’t mean that I like it necessarily.
PL: Did you ever like travelling?
JM: Not that much.
PL: What about that famous bus ride from London to San Remo …
JM: (Laughs) Yes. 2010. There was this volcano in Iceland and because of the ash clouds all European flights were cancelled.
So a few of us decided to take a mini bus because w e didn't want to miss the event as we had already made it to London. We were all completely exhausted when we arrived at EPT San Remo. My girlfriend (at the time) and I actually broke up on that trip.
If Mercier's selling action, O'Brien's buying.
PL: You’ve been increasingly active on online high-stakes recently. Have you changed your priorities?
JM: I was actually playing a lot of high-stakes mixed games before Black Friday. Since then I use the time when I’m outside the US to play those games.
PL: Sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars move from one hand to the other. Is your bankroll big enough and are you skillful enough to survive these games?
JM: I see myself definitely as one of the best online high-stakes mixed game players. And I can afford to lose $100k in a session.
I'm aware of the variance and the swings and set limits for myself. I don’t want put too much of my bankroll at risk in any one session.
If a game is too big, I usually sell action. I don’t buy action in cash games very often, but I know a group of players that would always buy my action.
PL: Like who?
JM: Dan O’Brien, for example. He is a good friend of mine.
PL: Do businessmen invest in you because it’s +EV?
JM: Businessmen do it more for fun and gambling than for the investment. It’s the poker players who do it rather for the investment.
PL: You came to fame very quickly after several big successes in a row. Is Dan Colman the new Jason Mercier?
Colman's run "mathematically improbable."
JM: I won eight or nine tournaments in the first two and a half years of my career. What he has done is probably the most impressive thing in all of poker tournament history.
He won six tournaments this year. Most of them had a buy-in of over $100k, but he also won a $5k tournament with 1,500 players. It is actually mathematically improbable.
I busted him for example in the EPT Monte Carlo Super High Roller, which he then went on to win.
I didn’t realise he had re-entered. That was the first tournament he won this year and was the start to his very impressive run.
PL: A couple of years ago it was you in the limelight. Now he is, but he handles it completely differently …
JM: My understanding is that his opinion is poker can be bad for people who become addicted and waste their money.
However, there are millions of opportunities to lose your money if you have an addictive personality. It is a paradox that he earns millions with the game but doesn’t want to promote it.
I understand his opinion and I respect it. But I think he may regret it in the future because there are so many positive aspects to the game.
PL: Have you ever had a moment in your career where you thought I have to quit, this will kill me or at least my bankroll?
Had some serious downswings but never considered quitting.
JM: In 2007 I went for making Supernova Elite and since that I never really thought I have to quit poker because of my financial status.
I’ve been through serious swings. A lot of people remember my downswing in 2012 when I lost almost $2 million in six months.
But my thoughts were not about quitting, more about being careful and managing my bankroll properly.
PL: Shortly we'll see the next WSOP Main Event Final table. If you think about the November Nine, which performance impressed you the most?
JM: I'd definitely say Greg Merson. I played with him in the NLHE Shorthanded Event, which he won before he made the final table in the Main Event 2012.
I had some interesting chats with him and was really impressed with his game. Then I watched his performance at the final table and definitely thought he deserved to win.
He has been a great ambassador for the game as well.